Prominent women politicians are dying mysteriously. An anonymous person claims that these are murders meant to stop women from acting like men. Statistics suggest that something is rotten in Denmark. What's going on?
Before going further, let me mention that this book contains lurid details of sexual misbehavior by men towards women. If such things upset you, this book may not be the right one for you. The book also refers to lesbian sexual relations, but leaves out any details that would offend sensitive readers.
The book evolves from the perspective of Dr. Emily "Blue" McCarron, who is a social psychologist. That field allows you to determine the probabilities of events occurring, and provides an interesting perspective on how to fight crime. Normally, she employs this skill to help lawyers prepare for jury trials. Her partner in this consulting business is Dr. Roxanne Bouchie, a forensic psychologist who practices at a local prison. The two women have a loving relationship, and in all other ways the story builds on the theme that opposites attract. In their unconventional lives, they seek out honesty, commitment, and caring that makes them very appealing characters.
The set-up of the book gets you into the depths of the story quickly, and prepares you for a gradual peeling of the onion to first determine if there has been a crime . . . and if so, how was it accomplished? I will not provide any more details because they would only reduce your enjoyment of this very original plot.
Seldom does the mystery genre develop a major new twist. The Last Blue Plate Special combines more new elements into a mystery than any other one I can recall reading. If books were rated only on originality, this one would exceed five stars. On the other hand, the desire to cover new territory sometimes takes the book into realms that are too much of a stretch, which weakens its appeal. Readers who are sensitive to details will wonder why so many dangerous, and unpleasant impulsive actions are taken by the characters. Clearly, Ms. Padgett has overdone her points unnecessarily in the process. Despite the improbabilities, you will feel intellectually and emotionally rewarded by this book in ways that most other mysteries do not provide.
The Last Blue Plate Special considers the nature of human love, commitment, responsibility, and caring in an extraordinary number of dimensions. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions, but the book suggests that helping without harm is the core of what all should seek. The book also explores the connection between fundamentalist religion, sexual urges, and morality. "We are our brother's keeper" is an important theme for this book.
With all of this richness of material, The Last Blue Plate Special also delivers a deliciously complex, unusual mystery about a serial killer. The mystery develops around the hub of psychology, medicine, and symbolism in a very satisfying way. Generous clues are scattered in all directions, allowing you the possibility of solving the mystery from anyone of several clues. Even the red herrings are built in so that they help establish the trail to the killer.
After you finish enjoying this wonderful book, I suggest that you think about how your loving relationships can be more rewarding for those you love.
Share your feelings in ways that build a finer life for those you love!